Thursday, May 2, 2013

"Truth Verification And Detecting Deception" by Kaaryn Gough

Truth Verification” and “Detecting Deception

Are they the same thing?

In selling one’s services in the “Truth Verification/Detecting Deception” business, one must be aware of the optics. In other words, what will appeal to clients and ultimately land a contract for this service while at the same time, accurately portray what the service accomplishes.

In the beginning of my career as a statement analyst, I described my services as “Detecting Deception and Information Gathering”—after all, that’s what statement analysis accomplishes. But I soon discovered that the word “Deception” triggered negative responses from potential clients—“Oh, we don’t employ any deceptive people here” was the common inferred message I received back. What they were really looking for was someone who could read a statement or an interview and say, “Yes, the person is telling the truth”. They wanted confirmation of what they hoped was true, not what was actually true. Admitting they might have deceptive employees in their midst essentially would bring attention to the fact that their screening process had problems. Additionally, if word ever got out that such-and-such company had a dishonest employee, it could likely call into question the company’s policies, product, or service, ultimately tarnishing the name and hurting business.

In an effort to be more appealing, I changed my approach to calling it “Truth Verification and Information Gathering”, which sounded much nicer and made me feel like a nicer person. I was seeking the “truth” rather than digging for “deception”. Clients still got the same service but they were able to sell it up the chain of command much easier when the word “truth” was in the title.

However, for the past few years, I have gone back to describing my services as “Detecting Deception and Information Gathering”. Here’s why.

Let’s first examine examine the words “verify” and “detect”. “Verify”  is to prove or confirm something. “Detect” is to discover or perceive the existence of something. When you look at these definitions, which one more accurately describes what we do in statement analysis? Are we "proving" anything? Or our we "discovering"?

Many of you wrote they are different. You are correct. Some of you included the key concept—It is possible to tell a truthful story and still be deceptive. One does this simply by omitting information. This, by the way, is the most common form of deception.

Deception comes in all forms—fabrication (bold-faced lies); substitution (when asked what you did Saturday, you respond with what you did Friday), borrowing (you read it or saw it on television or heard someone else tell the story); telling a truth to avoid telling the truth (your answer is a truth, but you know it’s not the truth the reader/listener is looking for); and omission (you simply don’t include the information).

The following is the definition I use as my cornerstone when analyzing a statement.

Deception is the deliberate choice to mislead the target through an oral or written message that does not honestly reflect an individual’s actual knowledge, opinion or belief.

Deception is the omission of information that intentionally affects the logical conclusion of the target.
In both cases, the target is not informed of the liar’s intentions.


Consider the difference between telling a story that is comprised of a group of truthful sentences and telling a story that tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. In other words, the statement “honestly reflects an individual’s knowledge, opinion or belief”.  It does not mislead nor does it affect the logical conclusion of the reader/listener.

In the case where Bill repeats something John said and Bill believed the information to be true, but in fact it was not, Bill would not be considered deceptive, according to this definition, because  the information Bill repeats to others honestly reflects his knowledge, opinion or belief. If he knew John was not telling the truth and still decided to repeat it to others as it being the truth, then yes, Bill would be considered deceptive at that point.

I included the last sentence "In both cases, the target is not informed of the liar’s intentions." in this definition for it could be said that actors or magicians are being deceptive. However, movies and magic shows are not true deception because you, as the audience, have been informed that the people you will see on the screen are not the people they are portraying. When going to see a magic show, you are informed it is "magic" not reality. Life and logic tell you that elephants can’t really disappear into thin air.

If you stick with this definition and make it your cornerstone in analysis, you will find the concepts and rules of the SCAN method of statement analysis are much easier to understand and employ.    

58 comments:

maemae said...

Thank you! This is very informative for me. I am new to SA other than what I have learned by raising 4 children and reading Mr. Hyatt's blog.

SusanNH said...

I would give anything for just one more word from Andrea. One moment, one anything. It has been more than ten years. This billie goat thing is Having fun? I would have been on my knees, run all over that huge state to find my child. She is the one that killed her kid, she was one that was respnsbile for the dump. Who would allow that? Some hunk of trash, pretending to be a uteris donor.

Anonymous said...

Susan, In my own way, I know how you feel. When my husband died suddenly and unexpectedly, I would have given anything for just one more word with him, including my last breath. Just one look, one smile, one hug. Anything, just to be able to reach out to him. I would have run 1000 miles naked in the snow if I thought he'd be there at the end. I would have laid down and died with him if I could have.

I can't imagine that this nightmare I lived (and sometimes still do) would have been worse had this been my child; I don't know how, I can only believe that it could be. Yet, here we have a MOTHER who shows no grief or agony for the loss of her own flesh and blood child that she gave birth too? This is unimaginable. Unthinkable. I can only agree with you; SHE is the one responsible for her childs' death and disposal and has not one ounce of remorse for it. Not one.

Anon 1

Wreyeter72 said...

OT - for Peter - this is a highly interesting case: http://m.newson6.com/Story.aspx?story=22148842&catId=112042

I was living in the area when the two women and the child were reported missing so I find it all fascinating how its panning out. This link is filled with unreliable denials by the person I have always thought was responsible for their deaths. 21 years and they found the bodies last week. I can't wait to see how this turns out.

Lis said...

Interesting, Kaaryn. I can see how 'truth verification' puts a more positive spin on things. I admire how you want to be accurate in describing your services. I could see 'truth verification' working in a sense, because you can say, "sorry, I can't verify this as the truth," when someone is showing deception but then it is really more of a 'truth non-verification'. Ha, now I am confusing myself!

Lis said...

Susan and Anon 1, I feel so sad for you. I can't imagine the loss you have been through and I admire your strength to carry on. I always tell my husband that if he goes first, I'm going, too, because I'll never survive it, we are so close, we've been through so much together.

I remember many years ago one of the first child abductions I heard of on the news. It was so horrifying. Every time they showed the mother on the news, she looked more gaunt, pale, and desperate, she dwindled down to a stick. It was the picture of anguish. My own kids were small then and the thought of what she was coping with was more than I could bear to think about.

Partying, laughter, new clothes, smiling photos... no, no, no, it is so wrong. And particularly the photo simulating violence and Billie taking part with a huge grin- who would take part in such a thing with their daughter missing, likely the victim of violence? NO ONE.

john said...

Great Post Kaaryn..

Lemon said...

I appreciate your honesty. One wonders regarding say, a very tiny elephant? :)

Nic said...

Thanks Karen. When I was reading your post I was wondering if employers ever felt/even thought it ironic that they didn't want to appear negative so having you "word smith" the definition to make their intent more "positive" to their employees was deceitful in of itself.

Kind of like an employer projecting themselves of "valuing family" (so do not frown upon taking off for kids' functions, etc.) and then awarding employees for being absent from the family for long periods to meet product to market deadlines. (A company I used to work for.)

Thanks again.

REK said...

My favorite part of statement analysis is more on the end of truth verification, which usually takes more questioning, time, or resources. Both elements are part of statement analysis, but I think for your purposes the “deception” description is more accurate in terms of not misleading, since your services might not be as thorough as other investigations. Maybe you could even add a statement of intent of verifying truthfulness. That seems complete to me.

Kaaryn Gough said...

REK said...
"My favorite part of statement analysis is more on the end of truth verification, which usually takes more questioning, time, or resources. Both elements are part of statement analysis, but I think for your purposes the “deception” description is more accurate in terms of not misleading, since your services might not be as thorough as other investigations. Maybe you could even add a statement of intent of verifying truthfulness. That seems complete to me."

REK, it is true that in order to verify something is true within a person's statement, you have to investigate either by more questions or securing evidence that corroborates what the subject said. That is not statement analysis. That is investigation and would be the next steps after the analysis.

It's not impossible for someone to write or say something that meets what is expected in language and content even though they are being deceptive.

I can write, "I had dinner with the President of the United States last night." Can you tell from looking at my language, am I being truthful or deceptive? According to the SCAN rules of statement analysis, there are no indicators of deception in my statement.

Your logical brain thinks it's not possible I had dinner with the President last night because he was on a State visit to Mexico. But that is outside knowledge and strictly speaking, outside knowledge is not allowed in an analysis.

In analysis, we would look at my sentence and say it doesn't contain any signals of deception. But that is not the same thing as "verifying" the information is true. That's why I cannot say I verify something is the truth inside a statement. I can only say, it does not contain any signals of deception.

A statement analyst does not investigate nor does he/she try to prove or "verify" the information. Our role is to detect deception and gather information.

Sometimes I wish I could verify that something inside a statement is truthful. It would help to be able to come at a statement from both perspectives.

REK said...

thanks Kaaryn! I guess I take it a step further sometimes. Although the SCAN technique does plenty for me. I've read a few comments on this blog that some people say if you use SCAN all the time, you will think everyone is a liar. It might be a wakeup call at first to find sensitivities and deception but usually that just means you need to do more digging and maybe let down your guard a little and understand that all of us are deceptive at one point or another for various reasons..and if you can figure out those reasons such as remorse, embarrassment, etc. then maybe you will further understand your family and peers and have more empathy for their situation. Of course sometimes what you uncover might just tick you off some more, but you can always learn from it. That’s the best part!

Kaaryn Gough said...

REK,

I am a statement analyst and an investigator and I must remember to remove my investigator hat when I'm doing statement analysis. It's difficult! Often as I'm doing an analysis my investigator brain sees something and tries to butt into the analysis process and "solve" the crime or come to a conclusion.

I admit, during an analysis, I keep my investigator hat close by and sometimes I put it on. But I put it on knowing I will need to reread my analysis with a more critical eye and ask myself the following:

"Did outside knowledge influence my analysis?"

"Did my desire to "solve" the case influence my analysis?"

TrishapatK said...

Excellent article, thank you Kaaryn!

You and Peter extend yourselves and share your knowledge so graciously. It is no surprise to see that you apply that same understanding of human nature to the work you do ... even towards the "marketing" or "presentation" of what it is you do.
I try to apply those same principals of how humans respond and what association they will be left with. I try to be conscious of the overall "tone" of any conversation and particularly what they'll take away from it. I write articles for magazines that are about a topic that is morally/ethically neutral but even there I find myself checking to make sure that things are presented in a way that leaves the reaader with a positive association vs. a negative one. The "problems" that are being solved have to be presented but the flip side of talking about the "negative"problem will be it's "positive"conclusion ... sort of like the negative "Detection of Deception" with the flip side being that you are ultimately aiming for the positive "Truth Verification" in any situation.

Sorry if my metaphor doesn't hold up perfectly ... overall, I'm saying that I see good character and a lot of "Emotional Intelligence" in you and in your work ... and that it is something that is useful in every walk of life.

Thank you for the excellent explanation of the difference and why it matters.

Anonymous said...

Peter:
HACIENDA HEIGHTS, Calif. – Every morning, Jim Crabtree said he would wake up, wash and dress his wife who suffered from Alzheimer's disease, and drop her off at his parents' home so he could go to work. On Wednesday, he did the same, without any sign of trouble. Hours later, his parents and his wife were dead in an apparent murder-suicide. Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives were still trying to determine the reason. Crabtree identified the three dead people as his 80-year-old mother, Carol Crabtree, his 84-year-old father, Dan Crabtree, and his 62-year-old wife, Rita Delehanty.
Crabtree, 55, said all three suffered from chronic illnesses: His wife from mid-stage Alzheimer's, his father from early-stage Alzheimer's, and his mother from debilitating chronic joint pain that forced her to use a wheelchair. It was apparent to Crabtree that their failing health led them to hasten their deaths. "This is the classic ending of three people with terminal illnesses," he said.
Authorities found the three after a 911 call Wednesday morning brought deputies to the quiet suburban neighborhood in Hacienda Heights. Sheriff's Lt. Dave Dolson said investigators found the couple and their daughter-in-law with gunshots wounds: Delehanty was dead in the living room, Carol Crabtree's body was in a powered wheelchair in the back bedroom, and Dan Crabtree was barely alive on the backyard porch. A shotgun and handgun were found near him.
"We believe it's a murder-suicide," Dolson said. "All evidence right now points to the fact that the husband likely shot and killed the daughter-in-law and his wife, and then shot himself."
Investigators believe it was Dan Crabtree who may have made the 911 call indicating someone was shot at the house, Dolson said, but detectives didn't know the motive.
"At this point we really can't nail it down," Dolson said. "We may never." Marjorie Bauer was in her house a block away when she heard a single gunshot shortly before 9 a.m. She was speaking with her neighbors George and Alice Parrish about what happened, while looking over at the police tape Wednesday afternoon. All three have lived in the area for many decades. "It's shocking," said Alice Parrish. "You don't expect it in your own backyard The Crabtrees were friendly with their neighbors, and were known to bicker, or "fuss and carry on," said George Parrish. Residents would see Carol Crabtree out taking walks, but more recently, she was rarely seen. "She couldn't walk anymore, she was in a lot of pain," Alice Parrish said. Though Dan and Carol Crabtree were suffering from poor health, they agreed to care for their son's wife so he could work. His wife would have breakfast with her in-laws each morning, and Jim Crabtree would go to his job as a registered nurse who trained paramedics for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Later in the day, his parents would drop his wife off at her home about a mile away, and paid caregivers would take care of her until Crabtree returned.

Anonymous said...

Part two:
Crabtree spoke outside his parents' home Wednesday about his wife's progressively worsening Alzheimer's over the last seven years. Delehanty had also been a nurse, but she had to stop working five years ago because of her illness. The two had been married 25 years and never had kids, he said. "My wife didn't know who I was. My wife didn't know we were married," Crabtree said. "You try to help her, she yells, she screams, she hits you." Crabtree wore a white tie Wednesday with a purple ribbon on it that said "I wear purple for my wife" and pledged Alzheimer's awareness.
"The pain and misery that comes with this dementia, until you lived it, you don't get it," Crabtree said. He said caregivers cost him $2,000 a month and none of it was covered by insurance.

After years of withering emotional drain caring for his wife, he said he was somewhat relieved it was all over. As he had looked into the future, he had wondered how it was going to end. "When somebody dies, you don't want to go out and say I'm overjoyed my parents and my wife are dead, but in some cases, my wife died years ago," Crabtree said.

Dee said...

I can write, "I had dinner with the President of the United States last night." Can you tell from looking at my language, am I being truthful or deceptive? According to the SCAN rules of statement analysis, there are no indicators of deception in my statement.

Your logical brain thinks it's not possible I had dinner with the President last night because he was on a State visit to Mexico. But that is outside knowledge and strictly speaking, outside knowledge is not allowed in an analysis.

*******************************
Kaaryn,
Thank you for an excellent article. The above is something I struggle with in doing analysis, especially on the cases Peter covers that are well publicized. It is so hard to keep outside information I've learned through news reports from coloring the statement I'm looking at. I hope as I keep practicing I'll get better at shutting that off during statement analysis and allowing it in during further investigation.

john said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john said...

"I had dinner WITH the President of the United States last night."

Hi Kaaryn,

Peter says..

The word "WITH" can show distancing in a relationship..

I'm wondering,even though your statement is fictitious, would this still apply to your statement,and other fictitious statements,Authors and the like?..

Does their subconscious leak out on to the page,and reveal what the Author likes,or dislikes..

As in, are you not a fan of Obama?

lol :-)

Thanks..

Anonymous said...

Thanks,Kaaryn. You gave us an invaluable defintion of deception.

Katie said...

Thank you, Kaaryn. This is very informative and thank you for sharing your experience to show how they are different although they seem similar. Since your story is work related, it makes me think about resumes. The way we are taught to construct them keeps changing. And we tailor them to what we perceive the prospective employer wants. We must use their lingo and jargon so we have to rewrite what we did in past jobs to relate them to the prospective job. It's the same job, but we describe it in a new language almost. Also, we are not to use pronouns, which can make for awkward sentences.

Kaaryn Gough said...

The "with" does indicate distance in a relationship but not all distance should be immediately considered negative.

My use of "with" accurately reflects the reality of my relationship with the President. I don't know him personally so there is a natural distancing in my language. This does not mean I want to distance myself from him.

If I had written, "The President and I had dinner last night", this would imply a closer relationship. Given I don't know him personally, this would give the listener/reader a false impression I have a relationship with the President.

The "with" should prompt further inquiry into how well I know the President and what type of dinner it was. Formal or informal? The two of us alone? A group? Personal time or professional time?

If my answer is, I don't know him personally and/or it was a formal dinner, then "with" is expected in these circumstances.

However, if my answer is, "I am good friends with the President and it was an informal, relaxed occasion", then this would imply I was choosing to distance myself from the President for some reason.

I very much like and admire President Obama and I would be greatly honored to have dinner with him and Mrs. Obama.

Where the use of "with" stands out is when someone says, "I live with..." This implies one person is in charge of the property and the other one is only living there at the other person's invitation. It is not jointly owned or an equal situation. If this is said by a person in reference to their spouse there are big problems and distancing in the relationship.


john said...

Kaaryn,

Thank you for your reply,and explanation..

Anonymous said...

Peter..

I think I speak for many on here. We would love to get your analysis of the Amanda Knox interviews....

Pretty Please!

ME said...

OT the "model"everybody here thought had "self inflicted"or "had guilty knowledge"of acid thrown in her face.,.SOMEBODY unknown to her has been arrested!!!
I'll try to get more info later!!! She may be guilty (I'm still convinced she is)it's a uk ongoing case.(im usually"ME") but can't sign in ;(

Peter Hyatt said...

Where are the transcripts of Amanda Knox?

Dee said...

Re: Amanda Knox...I've been searching and haven't found the interview transcribed anywhere yet.

Sus said...

Thank you, Kaaryn, for this post and your further comments to explain. I will work harder to concentrate on the statement analysis before verification. I know I tend to jump in with my "investigating hat."

Get Real said...

Peter,

Are you going to do SA on The Amanda Knox interview?

Waiting and hoping...

john said...

Get Real said...
Peter,

Are you going to do SA on The Amanda Knox interview?

Waiting and hoping...

.................................

No one can find the transcripts..

Get Real said...

I just watched the video on eyes for lies with Amanda knox where she was asked if she killed Meredith. I can not get over how she smiles out the right side of her mouth. She is actually cracking a smile for goodness sake. It's a "I know something you don't know and I'm keeping it a secret" look/cracked smile.

There was someone on her posting about this last night... where are you?

Get Real said...

John: have you been to the eyes for lies site? Not a whole interview but a blurb - enough to confirm what we already thought.

Sus said...

http://abcnews.go.com/m/story?id=19074897&sid=81

This has some lengthy quotes from the interview, but you have to buy the full transcript.

get real said...

Peter, the story of the Australian lady who said the dingo ate her baby - did you ever do SA on her? I was curious to know if found deception in her statements.

I know it's an old case, but I've always wondered if she was truthful. SA is new to me.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk-q1pnXQHc

Part of Amanda knox interview she slips and says " I was thinking about WHAT Meredith and then changes it to MUST OF been through.

She spoke from experimental memory. She was there, she saw, she was involved.

Dee said...

OT...http://www.ktxs.com/news/fbi-seeks-tips-in-colorado-city-teen-hailey-dunns-death/-/14769632/20007962/-/118w1srz/-/index.htm

*********************

Still looking for tips.

john said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john said...

Get Real said...
John: have you been to the eyes for lies site? Not a whole interview but a blurb - enough to confirm what we already thought.

......................

Hi Get Real,

I Have,Eyes and I don,t always agree.

She is very good,and a professional ?.I'm an amateur,and its a hobby for me.

Anonymous said...

http://bigcountryhomepage.com/libraries/nxd/media/index.php?data=media_player&v=616337

SA does so much emphatic nodding and head shaking throughout the interview that you don't need to go to slow motion to see it. Some movements are ambiguous, almost circles. But when asked,

Interviewer "Shawn, is there anything else you want to tell us?".

SA "I just hope she makes it home safe and sound, soon."
The shake of his head is an exaggerated no as he negates what he just said. No micro movements there.

WARNING: I have NO training. But do we really need training in to find that suspicious?

Red Ryder said...

Excellent article! Very good explanation of the differences btw verification and detection. The definitions of ommission of information and deliberate choice to mislead were interesting. I can appreciate why clients would feel more comfortable with the word truth in hiring you but in the end they know they have a problem with a liar or a thief etc.
Re:Eyesforlies, I read her blog sometimes also, ignoring the spelling/grammar because I figure she uses Dragonspeech or something like that, its interesting but I don't always agree with her either.

Anonymous said...

It's gotten so quiet in here it makes me wonder if things have moved to private FB.

S + K Mum said...

I enjoy reading Kaaryn's posts, Kaaryn you explain so well :) Thanks

Trixiebelle said...

re: Anon 10:29.....yes, indeed, things have gotten quiet on this blog. First Pointhunter has disappeared and now Peter is uncharacteristically quiet. Perhaps LE has asked them to stop being so vocal about the Hailey Dunn case as it is now a murder investigation?

Anonymous said...

Trixiebelle, yes, but not posting about Hailey is one thing. No posts on any topic is very unusual.

Anonymous said...

Not only is Peter inactive, so are the regulars. It may be that they all needed a break, I suppose.

Kaaryn Gough said...

Peter emailed me yesterday asking for my help with a statement. He explained he's swamped with work right now. Likely a case (or more) came in that is/are urgent or there is something with the Dunn case that requires immediate attention.

I'm sure he'll respond when he comes up for air.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kaaryn. We sometimes forget he has a life outside his blog. I suspected the latter but didn't consider the other things. I sometimes forget he has a life outside his blog. I hope he catches up on his work and then takes a well-deserved break before he reappears here.

Anonymous said...

In the meantime, if you have a lesson for all us SA orphans to focus on I'm sure it would be welcomed. :) If you aren't also swamped. Either way, thank you for your contributions.

~ABC said...

Anon @ 12:09

lol SA orphans. I agree.

Hobnob said...

Anyone wanna adopt a SA orphan?

I am mostly house trained, i hardly bite anyone these days and i have my own fluffy doggy slippers.


I can even, at a push share my cookies, donuts and coffee as long as you don't expect all at the same time or anything more than a waft or crumb hehe

Red Ryder said...

Uh, Hobs? No offense but we know how you are about donuts~lol! Still, you're welcome to shuffle around in your doggy slippers over here until things get back to normal:) My door is open, the kettle is on, I might even be able to rustle up some jammy dodgers seeing as you will try to share!

Wreyeter72 said...

Your idea intrigued me so I went and found trial transcripts online - and I'm sorry I forgot to save the link ;(
They were interesting - especially Lindy Chamberlain's testimony in which her words indicated deception frequently. However, what she was being deceptive about wasn't killing her child - I don't think but I'm no SA expert - instead I think she was deceptive because she felt guilt for what happened - was she under the influence? Was she ignoring the baby's cries too long? I don't know. Google the transcripts!

john said...

Hi Wreyeter72 ,

You may find the transcripts you found in your Google history..

kenny dalgljsh said...

Yes

Hobnob said...

Hi Red i am a sucker for jammy dodgers gimme :)

Dee said...

I've got to ask. I've never heard of Jammy dodgers, it must be a British thing. What is it?

Wreyeter72 said...

Thanks John. I've never looked at the history on my phone before and it was quite revealing. I read a LOT! At any rate - here's the link if you're curious:
http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/chamberlain/chamberlaintranscript.html

Hobnob said...

jammie dodgers are 2 cookies stuck togeather with strawberry jelly. The centre is cut out in a heart shape so you see the jelly


http://schleckland.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/jammie_dodger.jpg

I am also a sucker for mint double stuffed oreos, sadly over here all i have found so far is original and chocolate oreos and double stuff original.

I also want the orange ones as well.